Disabled Veteran Mows Lawns To Save His Dog's Life

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Meet David.

He's a one-eyed, three-year-old, 140-pound Alaskan Malamute-German Shepherd mix with two bad hips-- so bad, in fact, that if he doesn't have them replaced, he'll need to be put to sleep.

"There's a chance I'm going to lose him."

His owner, Richard Reister, is a disabled veteran who relies on the dog for most of his daily activities. He's had David since the pup was six days old.

"He's learned my left side is weakest. He will actually walk on my left side, put my foot in his mouth and put it on the next step, if you can believe that."

But David, too, is now disabled.

The dog suffers from a genetic leg malformity, and it will cost $8,000 to replace the dog's hips. That's money Reister doesn't have. But what he does have is a plan.

Reister has started cutting lawns in the Chesaning area on his tractor mower for $10 a pop, all in an effort to save money for David's new hips.

"People may think they're taking advantage of me, but I'm the one taking advantage of them," Reister says. "Every dollar I make is one step closer to getting David's hips done."

Even with flyers advertising his services scattered throughout town, he hasn't had much business so far. But Reister says he has no choice but to be optimistic. He says he can't bare to let his pal down; the dog, he says, has become a beacon of strength for him, both physically and emotionally.

"I'm the only one who could make a difference for him."

Making a difference for the dog who makes a difference for him.

Reister says he would be open to mowing lawns anywhere throughout mid-Michigan, as long as it's within reason. He says to give him a call, 989-413-2517, and he'll mow your lawn for $10.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by lysa Location: vermont on Feb 27, 2009 at 07:40 AM
    is this story stillongoing? is the one eyed dog still alive? did he get his surgery?
  • by Kate Location: Chesaning on May 17, 2007 at 06:10 PM
    I'd like to correct the zip code in my previous post in regards to Richards address. The correct zip code is 48616. If a mod could update my first post I would greatly appreciated it. Thank you!
  • by Kate Location: Chesaning on May 17, 2007 at 05:41 PM
    please ONLY mail donations directly to Mr. Reister. I'm sure others have good intentions but he has made this information public for this very purpose. Thank you! Save David, a beautiful smart and loving companion. Please help spread the word! Richard Reister 1726 W. Brady Chesaning, MI, 480616 Phone: 989-413-2517
  • by Angela Location: Saginaw on May 15, 2007 at 06:00 PM
    I work at the VA Hospital in Saginaw, MI and spoke to Mr. Reister by phone. I'm trying to get together some donations for him which can be given to him when he comes. Anyone interested can e-mail me or send a check made out to Mr. Reister to me at Aleda E. Lutz VAMC, 1500 Weiss St., Saginaw, MI 48602 Attn: Angela Arnone, rm 390. Thanks! P.S. Mr. Reister did say if he should happen to get donations for more than the amount of surgery, he will donate the remainder to services for abused or homeless animals. angela.arnone@va.gov
  • by Lee Location: Reading on May 15, 2007 at 08:56 AM
    Have followed the news for last two days. So far no additional info via wilx on how to help this situation. WILX dont drop the ball. Certinaly with the interest shown the station has the resorces to develop a donation site. As a public interest issue, do not let this drop.
  • by Lauren Location: WILX on May 14, 2007 at 03:15 PM
    Hi everyone-- I do not want to post his address on the Web site, but do give me an e-mail at lauren.zakalik@wilx.com and we can take it from there!
  • by cathy Location: south carolina on May 14, 2007 at 01:18 PM
    saw this man's story on ITCHMO the web site about the dog food recall. hope their readers will help, too. i sent a donation directly to mr. reister. his address was listed in the detroit free press article that ITCHMO linked. maybe you could post it here.
  • by lee Location: reading on May 14, 2007 at 12:52 PM
    why hasent the station/bank/or a vet (maby MSU vet school)come forward to offer help or a site to send funds to?
  • by Mike Location: Wisconsin on May 14, 2007 at 10:48 AM
    As a disabled Vietnam vet myself, I really sympathize with Mr. Reister. I also have a dog I love
  • by KIM Location: HILLSDALE on May 14, 2007 at 10:46 AM
    IF EVERY VETERAN OUT THERE WOULD SEND JUST $1.00 TO THE TV STATION IN CARE OF MR. REISTER AND DAVID, NOT ONLY COULD WE PAY FOR DAVID'S SURGERY BUT ALSO ANY FOLLOW UP CARE AND THERAPY NEEDED. I'M A VETERAN MYSELF AND SO IS MY HUSBAND AND WE'RE BOTH GOING TO HELP. HEY VETERANS HEAR THIS CHALLANGE " BET WE CAN GET $8,000 DOLLARS TO THE STATION TO HELP DAVID, I'LL GIVE YOU ALL 2 WEEKS. BET YOU CAN FIND THE DOLLAR IN THE CUSHIONS OF YOUR COUCHES" IF YOU KNOW A VETERAN PLEASE PASS ON THE CHALLANGE, IF YOU ARE A VETERAN TAKE UP THE CHALLANGE, IF YOUR NOT A VETERAN, GEE WHAT A WAY TO SAY "THANK YOU" FOR THE FREEDOMS YOU HOLD MOST DEAR.
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